Tag Archives: Topps 1982

Stabler, Ken “The Snake” (1945-2015)

to81 stabler to82 stabler

Cards: Topps 1981, Topps 1982
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o XoXo Foundation*
Sent:  2/25    Received:  5/11    (75 days)
*Donation suggested of $10 per flat.

Okay, so I’m fine with paying a small signers fee for an autograph or two. I’ve gotten to that point in TTM collecting that I’ll indulge myself from time to time on that, but there are two things that get on my nerves. First and foremost, I expect it to be an authentic signature from the player- not an autopen or ghost signer. (I heard OJ Simpson had done this during one of his many legal battles. He will take your money, however much or little it is, and then hand it off to a ghost signer.) It’s got to be legit and consistent from piece to piece (see Ottis Anderson).  Second and finally, when you cash my check, it tells me: “I acknowledge I have received your item and I have completed my end of the transaction,” – namely signing my cards. Having me wait an additional 2 months after that? That’s a bit egregious. I understand if a player has personal problems they are dealing with; That is no problem, but really, the whole turnaround should be more like 2 weeks tops. Anyway, case in point, on the second peeve is right here in Kenny Stabler.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to have the autograph, but out of fear of the ‘mail gods’ voracious appetite, I had to consider cancelling the check and getting new cards to send. Much more hassle than what it was worth, especially if I just wanted to take a chance that he’d sign it without a donation.

Kenny Stabler followed in the footsteps of Broadway Joe Namath at Alabama during the mid-60s, where Stabler carved his own legacy into the Crimson Tide leader books, posting a 28-3-2 record as a starter. He finished 180/303 for 2196 yards, 18  TDs to 18 int, 838 yards on the ground, and 9 touchdowns, all in a little over 2 years as a starter.  The gruff quarterback was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1968 NFL draft (- the second such common pooling of players between the rival NFL and AFL that has now become the norm,) by the Oakland Raiders. Unable to crack the lineup, he found himself playing in the Continental Football League for the Spokane Shockers to pass the time. Things started off slowly for the West Coast rock star QB, as he had to unseat incumbent Darryle Lamonica first. By 1973 however, The Snake was in charge full time for the Raiders, and in 1977, the Silver and Black won its first Super Bowl. During this period the renegade qb flirted with the idea of joining the fledgling WFL and the Birmingham Americans (but the league suffered serious financial setbacks and was unable to last past the 1975 season).  Stabler reached a point in his career where he was basically the West Coast version of Joe Namath- except The Snake was considered a rock star. Things were at their zenith for the Raiders after their Super Bowl win, as Stabler became the fastest quarterback to 100 wins with his penchant for miracle plays and comebacks that were legendary. A prolonged holdout and subpar play doomed his tenure in Oakland, so in 1980, he was traded straight up for Dan Pastorini to the Oilers.

From the Raiders to the Oilers wasn’t such a bad leap for Stabler. Working with Earl Campbell and coach Bum Philips wasn’t such a bad thing either, but the Oilers failed to advance in the playoffs that year, so owner Bud Adams, (who couldn’t keep a good party going if it hit him in the mouth,) fired Philips after the season. The Oilers stumbled into mediocrity under embattled head coach Ed Biles so the Snake took his game after the 1981 season to the New Orleans Saints, where he was reunited with Philips, for the final 3 injury plagued seasons of his career before he retired in 1984.

Stabler has remained popular in football circles, both as a Raider and as a member of the Crimson Tide. He’s spent time in the broadcasting booth and done a lot of charity work through the XOXO Stabler Foundation. He’s had some legal run-ins with the law over back taxes, and besides having his own drink briefly (called Snake Venom,) Stabler has also dabbled in wine making.

One can make an argument for Kenny Stabler needing to be in the HoF, based on his accolades as the 1974 NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champ, 4 time Pro Bowler,  2 time AP, part of the NFL All 1970s team, and for basically owning all the Raiders record book after he left the team, but at this time, injustice remains done, and the honor has escaped the renegade Snake.

Ken Stabler passed away quietly at the age of 69, surrounded by friends and family on July 9th, 2015.

G/Gs  184       Att 3793       Comp 2270      Yds  27938      Pct  59.8     Td   194     Int 222    Rat 75.3   |
Rush 118   Yds 93    Avg  .8    Td 4     Lg 18

Brazile, Robert “Dr. Doom”

Cards: Topps 1981, Topps 1982
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o home  (signing fee)
Sent: 8/27  Received: 9/11  (14 days)

Robert Brazile was a member of some of the underrated Houston Oilers defenses that were overshadowed by the Steelers in the AFC Central during the 1970’s.  The Houston Oilers would draft Brazile in the first round of the 1975 draft with the sixth overall pick under the direction of Bum Phillips who was looking for fresh bodies for his new 3-4 defense. Brazile was a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Bum Phillips who was enamored with Robert’s (6’4″,230) combination of power, speed and size. After pulling the trigger Brazile would not disappoint- winning NFL rookie of the year honors after the conclusion of the 1975 season. A key cornerstone to the Oilers 1970’s AFC Championship runs during the “Luv Ya Blue” era, Brazile would earn ProBowl honors from 1976-1982 and was named AP from 1976-1980.   Brazile would be nicknamed “Dr. Doom” by his teammates for his ability to blanket the field and make incredible bonecrunching hits. More importantly it was because he got thrown out of a game his rookie season for crushing Washington Redskin quarterback Billy Kilmer’s skull. A complete player, Dr. Doom was an incredibly intelligent player who could play both the pass and the run with frightening efficiency. Brazile would terrorize opponents through 1984, and is considered the forerunner to Lawrence Taylor as a blitzing linebacker- but because sacks did not become a tracked statistic until 1982, Brazile’s contributions to the transformation of the linebacker position are largely ignored.

As a dominating force from the outside Brazile is unofficially considered the #2 tackler in the history of the Oilers franchise with 1285 tackles and never missed a game over his 10 year career. He’d also be named to the NFL’s All 1970s team. Despite Brazile’s notable statistic and presence on the field, he is one of the major players who has not been inducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame, but with teammate Elvin Bethea‘s recent induction- hope has been given anew that this stalwart defender will get his due. Brazile currently lives in Mobile, Alabama and briefly coached minor league football. An avid tennis player, Robert signed these cards for me for an extremely nominal fee, and even put his nickname on it that harkens to the Marvel Comics bad guy.

G/Gs 147/147     Tac  1285      Sac N/a    Fum 14     Int 13    Yds  201   Avg  15.4   Td 0    lg  33